Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Tesco Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a lesson in humility

Remember the slightly awkward kid at school who was actually very good at sport, the scruff who seemed to somehow get all the girls or the party animal who, to the shock of everyone, aced all his exams? You probably do – perhaps you even were one of these ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ characters. We’ve all heard the expression, and no doubt disregarded it from time to time, resulting in a slightly awkward back-tracking not too long afterwards. Life is full of little lessons like this, lessons which have to be relearnt with sometimes alarming regularity.

I’ve already discussed one supermarket wine – Sainsbury’s Grenache Rosé – and how impressed I was with its overall presence and its ability to complement one of my home-brewed Indian feasts. Yet I managed to catch myself out again! Tesco Châteauneuf-du-Pape this time, the 2012 vintage; a snip at £10 per bottle. Clearly this wasn’t the bargain basement end of the wine shelf, so I would have been extremely surprised if it drank like rancid strainings, but Mr Tesco, you’ve surpassed yourself with this selection. Pierre Martin, the producer has obviously found the Holy Grail of quality at sensible production costs, despite using what we are told are traditional methods. Beautiful is not a bad word to describe this wine. Perhaps not the most effective word for conveying the Middle-Eastern spices, the body, the fruitiness and the finish, or even the delightful nose of stewing rhubarb, but an efficacious word nonetheless. This wine is beautiful.

Why do we so often make the wrong assumptions based on appearances? Conditioning, prejudice, experience and many other reasons I’m sure, but we need to challenge these preconceptions occasionally and watch the spindly boy score the try, then do it again just to prove that it wasn’t a fluke. This wine is just that, causing the raising of that single eyebrow, Roger Moore style, as its full-bodied rubiness caresses your taste buds.

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